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Jupiter - The Other Moons of Jupiter


Jupiter has in total 63 moons. It seems more are discovered on a yearly basis. The Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii has discovered 23 additional moons in 2003.

More information can be found on the Jovian Satellite Fact Sheet. There is also the The Jupiter Satellite Page - An up to date resource on Jupiter's moons as well as the other planets.

The reason for this is pretty simply: the gravity influence of Jupiter is pretty intense, and perturbations of the asteroid belt is a result. Small asteroid bodies are often captured by Jupiter and forces to orbit. The result is a moon of Jupiter. In fact, most of Jupiter's moons resemble asteroids. While the four main moons have been discussed, there are a few other important satellites:

  • Amalthea
  • Metis
  • Adrastea
  • Thebe

Each of these moons orbit inside Io - meaning they are very close to Jupiter. These moons are important because they are the "ring moons." They help the rings of Jupiter keep their form and sweep away any debris. The term for this function is called shepherd moons. Amalthea is closest to Io and is covered by the sulfur dust expelled by the volcanoes on Io.

There are two main categories of moons: prograde and retrograde:

Prograde satellites rotate in the "correct" orbit and the retrograde satellites imply capture. The idea of this is that the prograde satellites probably formed with Jupiter and the retrograde satellites were captured later.

For more Jovian moon information a Jovian Satellite Fact Sheet is available.

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